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STARTING AN ONLINE STORE FOR BEGINNER: READER REQUEST

Samantha Wills


I am not good at business, but I AM good at surrounding myself with people who are!
— Samantha Wills

People often say to me, 'You are good at Business!', but the truth is I am NOT. However, I AM good at surrounding myself with people who ARE! For Laura's next question, I handed it over to someone who knows much more then me, Adriana Tedaldi, our Digital Product Manager at SAMANTHA WILLS. Adriana was one of the key point people heading up our new website launch, and knows more about digital then I ever will. Her advice on E-Commerce for Beginners, is outlined below. 

In regards to building a website, if I was starting a brand tomorrow, I definitely would not be paying a developer to build the site, like I did back in 2004. My preference is SquareSpace (Obviously, as I built this platform on it!). It may seem daunting, but I promise you, its not. Sign up & jump on it & have a look around, its actually quite fun, and you can easily plug in e-commerce to the site. 

If you get stuck, as Adri has said below, Google is your friend! there are easy tutorials for the most specific things. 

Domain Names, I use GoDaddy, and for startups I would recommend MailChimp for your newsletters (Also called EDM's: Electronic/Email Direct Marketing). 

Building websites & your branding is the fun part (Well, i think anyway!). Start building on hidden links, and step away from it often to come back with fresh eyes. You will be surprised how different the evolution of your site becomes as you immerse yourself in it. 

Don't be afraid to make mistakes, and always Google when you hit a road block! - SWx


SENDER: Laura

TO: SAMANTHA WILLS FOUNDATION

Subject: Content Request

QUESTION 2: Some basics for starting your own online store. The world of e-commerce is so confusing for a beginner, and I've tried to make it as simple as possible by sticking to Instagram (for marketing) and BigCartel (for the store). However there's things like domain names, Mail Chimp/newsletters, using other social media sites, employing a branding agency vs. DIYing it, etc., and I'm after some guidance on what is more or less "necessary" and what can be filed away under "A nice luxury if you can afford it". 


KEY FOCUS FOR STARTUPS IN E-COMMERCE: Adriana Tedaldi

The world of e-commerce can be daunting, but do not worry, once you get past all the jargon and buzz words, it really can be simple. 

The top things I would focus on are:

Get your website right. It's pointless trying to drive traffic to a non-functioning website. There are so may fully fledged platforms out there for you to customise for a small monthly fee. Register your domain name and sign up! 

Set up a free Google Analytics account. Information is key and it's free.

USER EXPERIENCE: make sure your homepage is descriptive about your brand so when new users land on the site they feel informed. Have clean navigation so that your customers can discover your products and ensure the checkout is simple and easy to use. Also, ensure an email capture point is visible! ( all of these will lead to a positive conversion rate). Mobile is a channel to focus on, so make sure your mobile proposition is right first before you focus on desktop.

RETENTION: Attracting and Retaining customers. Once you have your website locked down now you need to focus on digital marketing. There are so many avenues for this, but to start why not try: 

EMAIL MARKETING: Set-up an email marketing account  ( Mailchimp is free ) and capture customer emails through your online store. You can encourage users to sign up with an incentive ( 10% off your first order as an example ). Once you have a customer in your email data base you can then communicate to them whenever you want through email marketing.

SOCIAL STRATEGY: Promote your website through Facebook. Set up a brand page and carry out paid posts. Experiment with this! Define your strategy, pick your channels and plan accordingly.

AFFILIATES: Join an Affiliate Network such as Rakuten, you can drive incremental sales from this and if nurtured can return results.

Once you feel comfortable with this, you can branch out to other channels such as retargeting, PPC, Adwords and a whole lot more! Don't forget Google is your friend, if you are unsure about anything, just google it, as there is a wealth of knowledge out there including "how to" videos on Youtube, to amazing articles online.

Hope this helps!

Adriana

Digital Product Manager, SAMANTHA WILLS